Hidden costs Americans pay for using an ATM

ATMs have become omnipresent; no matter wher one ventures out, one finds an ATM nearby.

Such is the pupularity of ATMs that people seldom think abou the hidden costs they are paying for using their ATMs -- some of which they probably know about, some of which they may not be aware.

Although , following the introduction of interbank networks such as Cirrus and STAR, which gave people the ability to withdraw money from ATMs owned by banks at which they held no account, many banks began charging fees for withdrawals. These fees, or surcharges, have gradually risen over the years.

According to Bankrate.com,

the average ATM fee as of 2009 was $2.22 per transaction.

But that is only the half of the story.

When your bank finds out that you have made a withdrawal from an ATM; the bank doesn't own, it can charge you a "foreign" ATM surcharge. This fee reportedly averaged $1.32 in 2009 [source: Bruce].

And while the ATM must, by law, inform you of the withdrawal fee, you'll only learn about the foreign ATM fee when you look at your bank statement (so don’t forget to carfully look at your bank statement).

According to HowStuffswork, these fees can add up. Let's say you make one cash transaction a week at an ATM not owned by your bank, paying a $2 ATM fee to the bank that owns the ATM and a $1 foreign ATM fee to your own bank. You'll be paying more than $150 per year in fees. That's a lot of money.

Here is a video of how a little foresight and planning can avoid you from paying ATM fees altogether. --------

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